Bobby Duncan brought his goal tally for the season up to 19 as he helped the Liverpool U18s beat Portsmouth 3-2 in the FA Youth Cup third round on Tuesday.
Liverpool U18s 3-2 Portsmouth U18s
FA Youth Cup Third Round, St Helens
December 18, 2018
Goals: Duncan 15′, 90+2′, Sharif 33′; Lethbridge pen 65′, Hancott 71′
The young Reds headed into their final game of 2018 on a run of three consecutive victories, and ahead of a three-week break were looking to end the year on a high.
Barry Lewtas made four changes to the U18s side that won 3-0 at home to Southampton last time out, with Remi Savage, Patrik Raitanen, Niall Brookwell and Fidel O’Rourke all dropping out as Morgan Boyes, Rhys Williams, Tom Clayton and Elijah Dixon-Bonner came in.
A host of his season’s staples started, however, with Williams joining Vitezslav Jaros, Tom Clayton, Jake Cain and Paul Glatzel, with the latter lining up alongside Duncan in attack.
It took Duncan just 15 minutes to break the deadlock, and he did so in style, riding a host of challenges as he raced through to put Liverpool ahead.
Glatzel had already seen an early effort chalked off for offside, but the young Reds were two goals ahead before the end of the half, with goalscorer this time turning provider.
This came through a sumptuous pass from Duncan, threading the ball through for local lad Abdi Sharif to end the half at 2-0.
Portsmouth did rally after the break, however, and halved the deficit on 65 minutes after Duncan was adjudged to have handled the ball from a free-kick, with Bradley Lethbridge making sure his set-piece presence was felt from the spot.
Soon after, the visitors had equalised, with Lethbridge again the spark as he whipped it across the face of goal for Joe Hancott to turn home.
This gave Portsmouth a lift in St Helens, and it looked as if they would drag Liverpool into extra time, only for Duncan to ensure a relatively early night for all involved.
It came through great work from Glatzel, whose skill and creativity shone as he laid it on for Duncan to beat Leon Pitman and send the young Reds to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
Having only joined Liverpool from Man City in June, making his debut in August, it is remarkable that the 17-year-old has already scored 19 goals for his new club, and Duncan is certainly a player who should be on Jurgen Klopp‘s radar.
Interestingly, 16-year-old summer signing Ki-Jana Hoever was again in first-team training on Tuesday evening, having been left out by both the U23s and U18s this week.
TIA Man of the Match: Bobby Duncan
Referee: Ben Atkinson
Liverpool U18s: Jaros; Walls, R.Williams, Clayton, Boyes (Savage 83′); Dixon-Bonner (Bearne 79′); Clarkson, Cain, Sharif; Glatzel, Duncan
Subs not used: Kelly, Brookwell, O’Rourke